COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Japan is donating 1.4 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to Sri Lanka, which has been facing a severe shortage of AstraZeneca vaccine to complete the second dose.
The Japanese donation follows a personal request made by Sri Lanka president Gotabaya Rajapaksa to the Japan prime minister Yoshihide Suga, said a statement from the president’s office.
The first of consignment — amounting to 728,460 doses — was flown into the Indian ocean island nation on July 31, under the COVAX Facility. The next batch of AstraZeneca vaccines will arrive on Aug. 7.
Sri Lanka has been facing a shortage of more than 500,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine after the producer in the neighboring India failed to deliver the promised shots amounting to nearly 13 million, because of the surge of the virus in India. The nation has experienced a sharp increase of positive cases and deaths since April because of the celebrations and shopping by the people during the traditional new year festival.
Sri Lanka’s total cases have reached 313,769 and 4,571 confirmed deaths.